The state has filed lawsuits against the operators of six websites that illegally sold cigarettes to state residents, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday.
"These vendors not only broke the law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products online, but also endangered our children by making cigarettes easier and cheaper to purchase," Schneiderman said at a news conference in Mineola with anti-tobacco activists.
He said the shippers could offer cigarettes at as little as half the price charged by stores because the shippers did not pay state and local cigarette taxes.
The New York Public Health Law prohibits the shipment of cigarettes to anyone in New York State who is not a licensed agent or wholesaler, and carries a penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation and possible injunctions against future sales, he said.
Schneiderman said major credit card companies have already agreed not to permit the use of their cards for sale of tobacco over the Internet.
He identified the six vendors as Totally Tickled Limited Inc. for discountcigarettesdomestic.com; Kentucky Smokes, and David White; Anton Limited for INeedSmoke.com, and Kyle Williams; Cigarettes-online.biz and John Sparkle; Best Products Solution Limited for http://cigoutlet.net/; Best Products Solution Limited for Smokin4free.com, and Best Products Solution Limited for cigoutlet.biz.
None of the companies, some with overseas addresses and phone numbers, could be reached for comment. A Schneiderman spokesman said the legal papers had been mailed to the listed addresses of the businesses.